Jeep Renegade SUV announced

* Jeep’s junior SUV revealed * Four-wheel drive gives genuine off-road ability * Petrol or diesel; optional nine-speed automatic...

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Ed Callow
04 March 2014

Jeep Renegade SUV announced

This is the all-new Jeep Renegade, a rugged mini-SUV unveiled at this week’s Geneva motor show.

The Renegade is a joint project with Jeep sister company Fiat, which is producing its own small SUV called the 500X. Both models will be built in Italy.

The new Jeep is 423cm long, 180cm wide and 169cm tall, which means it’s about the same size as a Vauxhall Mokka. It’s a similar story for the space inside: the Renegade’s maximum load capacity of 1440 litres is comparable with the Vauxhall’s 1372. We’d guess boot space in the Jeep is around 350 litres when the rear seats are in use.

There are likely to be three engines available to UK buyers: a 138bhp 1.4 petrol, a 118bhp 1.6 diesel, and a 138bhp 2.0 diesel. All will be linked to a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. The 1.4 petrol is available with a six-speed dual-clutch, while the 2.0-litre diesel can be specified with a nine-speed automatic.

There will be four trim levels across the range – Sport, Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk. While four-wheel drive is an option on all models, it’s only the Trailhawk that’s likely to be marketed as a genuine off-roader. This adds extra body protection with metal skid plates, a 2cm raised ride height, plus standard four-wheel drive with a low-ratio mode and hill descent control.

The four-wheel-drive system can send up to 100% of the engine’s torque to any wheel, and runs in front-wheel-drive mode when cruising to boost fuel economy. It comes with Jeep’s Selec-Terrain system, which lets the driver choose between five drive modes: Auto, Snow, Sport, Sand and Mud.

Sport and Latitude cars get 16-inch alloy wheels, while 17s and 18s are optional. The 18-inch wheels are standard on top-spec Limited trim. Trailhawk cars get 17-inch wheels, as well as chunky all-terrain tyres. The raised ride height of the latter means ground clearance is upped to 22cm, and water wading depth is 48cm – on par with much larger SUVs like the BMW X3.

Safety kit across the Renegade range will include forward-collision alert, lane-departure warning, blind spot sensors, and up to seven airbags. A rear-view camera and rear cross-traffic monitoring will also be available.

In the cabin, the baby Jeep gets a choice of the 5.0- or 6.5-inch Uconnect infotainment systems that we’ve already seen in the latest Fiat family cars. It comes with Bluetooth, DAB digital radio, USB and aux-in ports. The Renegade also gets a removable, reversible boot floor like in the Renault Captur, as well as a front passenger seat that folds forward to accommodate longer loads.

Jeep CEO Mike Manley has previously told What Car? that the baby Jeep will be the company's most mainstream model yet, because it will play an important role in his plans to sell 800,000 cars annually by the end of 2014.

Much of this will be down to the new ‘small-wide 4x4 architecture’ that the Renegade is built on – a modular chassis that will allow multiple models to share as many components as possible.